Metro-East News

Student killed in fall was riding banister, got a push to go faster, police say

A Collinsville High School freshman who died after a fall down a stairway was sliding down a bannister and was playfully pushed by another student, according to police.

The Collinsville Police Department on Friday released 18 pages of documents the News-Democrat had requested through the Freedom of Information Act. The police reports detailed what happened to Tray Turner on the day of his fall. The 14-year-old boy was injured at the school during lunch time on Sept. 19 and died three days later at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

“The facts reveal Tray fell from a stair banister while attempting to slide down it,” Collinsville Police Chief Steve Evans said in a press release accompanying the police reports. “The stairs and banister he was going down led to a landing from which additional steps went down in the opposite direction Tray was sliding. Tragically, his fall took him forward and to the side of the downward steps going in the opposite direction.”

Evans also stated that a friend of Tray “was very forthright in telling us he had provided a push to Tray with the intention of making him go faster.”

He added, “It is important to note witnesses confirmed this; additionally, other students had seen Tray and this friend involved in this type of ‘horseplay’ previously.”

Police reports show Tray fell in a stairwell near the vocational building at the high school’s campus, 2201 S. Morrison Ave. The vocational building is on the farther west part of the high school in the northwest portion of the building. It is the last stairwell that leads to the second floor of the main high school building and is the last stairwell before the vocational side of the school.

The boy who was with Tray, whose name was redacted in the police report because he is a juvenile, told Collinsville investigators that Tray had told him to slide down the rail. The boy told police he declined and told Tray to do it. The boy told police Tray got on the rail and was asked to give him a boost. The boy said he pushed Tray to get him going. Tray slid down the rail but fell off before reaching the end. The boy said Tray landed in the area of the top step and he then pulled Tray onto a landing to get him on flat ground before going to get help.

Robert Carpenter, who is head of security for the Collinsville School District, said there was a camera located on the stairwell. Carpenter told police the camera was working on the day of the fall, but it was not saving or storing its data.

Angelia Kimbrell, who serves as a nurse at the high school, responded to the scene and saw Tray lying on the landing of the stairs. She told police Tray was unresponsive and had extremely slow breathing. She told police the boy who was with Tray told her they were playing around, sliding down the banister, and that he had pushed Tray.

Reports showed the police interviewed more than a dozen people, including four students and their parents. Police investigated one rumor that a fight had preceded Tray’s fall down the stairs. The rumor was unfounded.

According to one report, the case was closed on Wednesday after review by the Collinsville Police Department’s Investigative Division and the department’s administration.

“After reviewing the facts of the case, it was determined that sufficient probable cause to present this case for potential criminal charges does not exist,” investigators wrote in their final report. “This case will now be considered closed.”

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND